Tropical rains blessed Kauai most of the morning, a welcome liquous (Yes, it's in the Fictionary) libation for living things. Here in Rishi Valley a poinciana is in full bloom.
Nearby Tandu Sivanathan guides a team which is planting a special Seashore Prospera grass in Rishi Valley. last year Bodhinatha requested that this valley be cleared and landscaped, and the monks and members are teaming up to fulfill his vision.
Tandu's granddaughter Leila brought an umbrella to keep the rain off Tandu and the swamis. Very grown-up of her!
This is the gold leafing happening in Loha Guha, which means "iron cave," a steel building we erected to protect Iraivan stones from the weather. Here Deva Rajan, Tandu and Isani Alahan work.
They have been trained by the Maryland Guilder's Studio experts, and are gilding the five kalasams, the spires that will go atop the Rajagopuram entry.
They carefully cut the 23-karat sheets.
And apply them, using almost no pressure.
The leaf is amazingly thin and can be marred by the slightest touch. So they develop a great sensitivity to the media.
The top of this kalasam is painted with the primer coats and the bottom is the gold.
A squirrel hair brush is used to ever-so-softly press the gold into the sizing.
Isani concentrates on her task.
Tandu has become quite adept.
All are enjoying the blessings of being part of the creation of something so special.
Nearby Umbrella Ganesha works to keep the rain off Him.
The little bells on His umbrella.
The amazing bark of a gum tree near the monastery kitchen looks more like a satellite photo of the Earth.
The blessings of Lord Murugan awaken wisdom which resides in his chakra. "Pray to Lord Murugan to unravel the great mysteries of the universe." When we get emotional we lose touch with our wisdom. Murugan inspires penance to soften karmas and purify the mind, chitta-shuddhi. If you do kavadi in the right spirit, to get the full blessing, have in mind specific misdeeds, apologize to the deity, learn from it, promise to do your best. Visions are still happening. Feeling the energy of the deity is stronger during festivals such as Skanda Shashti.